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OSS on Windows the Next Big Thing? 351

Posted by Zonk
from the don't-forget-the-tm-after-thing dept.
Lam1969 writes "Linux geeks and Microsoft have similar interests, says Computerworld: They both are interested in seeing open-source software succeed. Linux geeks admit that the open source OS isn't necessarily a better platform for important applications, and Microsoft recognizes that many of its customers are using open-source applications, and doesn't want to alienate them." From the article: "Faced with the allure of inexpensive open-source applications among its core customer base of small to midsize businesses, Microsoft has toned down its rhetoric. 'It's a myth that open-source and Windows can't work together. Customers just aren't religious about these things,' said Ryan Gavin, a director of platform strategy for Microsoft."
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OSS on Windows the Next Big Thing?

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:27PM (#15799604) Journal
    OSS on Windows the Next Big Thing?
    It's not the "next big thing." In fact, it's the old big thing that kept me running Windows XP on a machine at home.

    So far today, I've used WinCVS, Notepad2, Firefox, PDFCreator, numerous Apache development tools and 7-zip all on Win XP. Looks like I'm well aware of the power of OSS on Windows. I'm not even talking about the tons of other apps I have on Windows that are OSS (Gimp, OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Gaim, Nvu, etc.).

    If they're supporting it now, it's only because they're grasping at straws and reasons for people to continue to buy Windows instead of x86 OSX. "Look, if you buy Windows, you can go download The OpenCD [slashdot.org] and just go to town on free software." I know there's plenty of OSS going on for OSX and it's even got the bash kernel so you can compile pre-existing OSS apps that were written for it but man these Windows OSS programs are slick and super easy to install.

    Saying that they're promoting it now will not make it the next big thing either. They'd have to open up some information about how to write apps on top of their OS or at least design some API's with the open source developer in mind. You know, if they made their platform a little less proprietary and gave the OSS developers a little more freedom, that would be a sign of OSS support.

    Talk is cheap.

    Perhaps we'll start to see some adolescent tendencies take hold in the open source community? Maybe the only reason OSS has been developed for Windows was to slap William Gates in the face? If so, it's now helping Microsoft and at least a few workers are promoting it.
    • by pilot1 (610480) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:37PM (#15799702)
      I know there's plenty of OSS going on for OSX and it's even got the bash kernel so you can compile pre-existing OSS apps that were written for it
      BASH is a shell, not a kernel. Having it installed won't help you compile anything.
    • "'Frankly, a lot of people in the open-source community have done themselves a disservice by painting things' as either/or decisions"

      Huhwha!?

      Who the hell said open-source and proprietary are either/or?! There's so much OSS for Windows it's not just not funny, it's incredibly USEFUL.

      An OSS OS v. proprietary isn't even either or. OS-X is a well-meshed mix between the two.

      Someone's been FUDding this guy, and claiming to be an OSS advocate in the process.
    • by rwven (663186) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:54PM (#15799862)
      Regardless of your experiences, the vast majority of the people on windows are using closed source software. There are obviously (and simply) WAY more open source apps for linux than there are for windows. While there may be enough to do the job for some people, there are not nearly enough to do the job for others. Most (not all) of the windows OSS apps are inferior by leaps and bounds to the closed source alternatives. Firefox and Thunderbird are two obvious exceptions to that. Things like open source non-linear video editing solutions or graphics programs such as the gimp are really pretty lousy compared to some of the costly (or on rare occasion free) closed source alternatives.

      I've been wishing and hoping for a long time that the OSS on windows movement would expand. I've also noticed a trend recently toward that very end. I'm holding my breath here.
      • by timeOday (582209) on Friday July 28, 2006 @02:07PM (#15800537)
        Most (not all) of the windows OSS apps are inferior by leaps and bounds to the closed source alternatives. Firefox and Thunderbird are two obvious exceptions to that. Things like open source non-linear video editing solutions or graphics programs such as the gimp are really pretty lousy compared to some of the costly (or on rare occasion free) closed source alternatives.
        Windows just doesn't have a culture of open source. You go to look for some silly little utility, and not only is it closed source, it's $18.95. In my limited past experience, the Mac is even worse - "here's an open source app dressed up with the native Mac widget set! Just $18.95!" Most of the good open source stuff for Windows is a port from Linux or somewhere else.

        Actually I shouldn't say "silly little utility" - developers have a right to ask whatever they want for their stuff, and it's their own hard work that produced it. But as a user, it's sure nice to work on Linux without all those toll booths everywhere. You just say "apt-get install" or "emerge" or whatever and with any luck, you're done.

      • by Zathrus (232140) on Friday July 28, 2006 @02:31PM (#15800775) Homepage
        There are obviously (and simply) WAY more open source apps for linux than there are for windows


        Yes, but so what? Most of the major OSS apps are available on both platforms at this point (or, more likely, many platforms beyond just those two).

        Most (not all) of the windows OSS apps are inferior by leaps and bounds to the closed source alternatives


        Fine. So use the best tool for the job -- that's basically what the article is saying. As is the grandparent poster. As are you... I think. I'm not sure why you're taking issue with the GP for that matter -- you seem to be saying largely the same thing.

        I use Windows at both work and home for my desktop, and Linux/Unix at both for servers. I develop C++ apps for *nix; at work our server code compiles under Windows for one and only one reason -- debugging. And it's a helluva lot easier to use Visual C++ for debugging than trying to beat TotalView into not crashing, or attempting to use gdb on AIX (pain... agony... coredumps).

        Most of the apps I use on a daily basis (vim, putty, firefox, virtuawin, cygwin, numerous command line tools, tortoisecvs, and numerous others) are OSS and they or equivalents are available on both platforms. But other apps that I use are not free (in either sense), nor are the games that I like to play at home. And they're all Windows only. The availability of so much OSS software on Windows, however, means that I really can have the best of both worlds.

        And for the rare stuff that's just better on *nix -- again, that's where putty and Cygwin come in. But, as you note, the need to run X apps is increasingly rare.
    • I know there's plenty of OSS going on for OSX and it's even got the bash kernel so you can compile pre-existing OSS apps that were written for it but man these Windows OSS programs are slick and super easy to install.

      The bash *kernel*!? It's a shell, not a kernel. There is a world of difference.

      I don't see OSS as a big thing on OS X, despite the fact many things can simply be recompiled for it, Mac zealots demand "native" (read: not using X11) ports of software, which is significantly more work than simply

      • by the phantom (107624) * on Friday July 28, 2006 @01:32PM (#15800203) Homepage
        You don't think it integrates nicely? In its default configuration, I hardly notice a difference between X apps and Aqua apps. The only thing that I notice is that X apps take just a little longer to load, because X takes a couple seconds to load. I am not saying that you are wrong -- the integration is not perfect, and some improvement wouldn't hurt, but, in my own opinion, X seems fairly well integrated. Could you explain to me what is terribly wrong with it?
      • by laffer1 (701823) <lukeNO@SPAMfoolishgames.com> on Friday July 28, 2006 @01:45PM (#15800325) Homepage Journal
        Apple's graphical layer is much better than X11. Apple needs an advantage. I'm sure apple could make x11 work even better with the gui as they did with A/UX. If you read up on it, it allowed you to run unix apps by double clicking in the gui and classic apps. Apple's x11 implementation is still fairly good, but a bit of a hassle to start some apps.

        Linux people want native stuff too. Not only do they want linux ports of software, but some people even rewrite apps so that they integrate with gnome or KDE better. xine/gxine for instance. In fact, most of the extra open source software out there is just duplicates of what we already had. Aside from one gnu app, I don't know of a replacement for say quicken. I don't see lots of open source games. (this argument is starting to become untrue.. in time.)

        Making a native port of an open source program for Windows is a lot of work too. What is the difference?

        OSX has quite a bit of open source software for it. Aside from obvious things like bash, tcsh, vim, xorg, apache httpd, php, perl, there are also things that don't come with it!

        Apple can never win. Its either criticism for using open source or now they don't have enough. If they had used x11 for everything it would be "why not use linux instead of the copy". Nothing is stopping you from using "Mac OS" with x11... its called gnustep + windowmaker. Try it sometime. Its only about a decade out of date.. but its there. (pronounced: nextstep)

        Linux users, do me a favor. Only speak of positives of your OS of choice. Don't sit there and trash every other OS out there. End users don't like "Windows is shitty" as a reason to switch. Why? Most of them think Windows is good enough. That's why they have 90% marketshare. Convince people Linux has new exciting features they can't live without. Play the game the way apple and microsoft do. The real reason you don't do that is because linux doesn't have much to offer over any other OS. Sure there are isolated cases but on a desktop there isn't a single reason to switch for most people. This holds true with mac os, bsd, and other systems as well. In the case of mac os, apple has iApps which appeal to a few people. That's why their marketshare is going up. They still don't have a silver bullet to get windows users to switch. Listen to what people say about mac os! Most complaints that are rational typically mention games. Does linux have lots of game ports? No. (work on that) Give and take constructive criticism. Improve the software. Work with others.

        My personal vision is that someday operating systems will be free that work for everyone. I want us to move beyond 100 different choices and get to a few good ones that the poor and rich can use together. Most people I know that have heard of linux think it costs money. Why? They goto best buy and see "linux" for 80 dollars. The windows upgrade is 99 right next to it. What does that tell them? Then they go down the next isle and see box after box of window software. They think.. gee i can't get any software for this "linux" thing. They also may think wow.. nothing for macs either. I guess I have to use windows.

        In order to resolve these problems, someone needs to put Linux cds at stores like AOL does. Free disks.. ubuntu or whatever needs to do this. Next, distros need to advertise that the box contains a browser, word processor, and anything else they may want. Perhaps an open source games collection might help too. Remember how you picked your first pc when you were clueless. In my case, I couldn't afford a mac so i got a packard bell because it had more games and other software.
    • I wouldn't say that OSX is a much better home for OSS than windows. - it really depends on the application. Neither OSX or windows does distribution management, so integrating an application will be more difficult on OSX and windows that on an OS that supports distribution management.

    • Bingo. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Qbertino (265505) on Friday July 28, 2006 @01:05PM (#15799960)
      It's not the "next big thing." In fact, it's the old big thing that kept me running Windows XP on a machine at home.

      Bingo. Right on.
      What we are seeing now is the reality that the experts saw coming 6-7 years ago is finally seeping into mainstream. Shrinkwrap software only business is over. Win2k/XP is mostly just a driver layer and gaming bios these days. The OSS vendors like Novel/SuSE/RedHat have been screwing around to much, that's what's held Linux/OSS back the last few years. Now with Canonical/Ubuntu finally getting the obsticles out of the way (zero-fuss hardware compliance) things are finally picking up speed. I've even considerd going back to Non-Apple Hardware after 3 years of OS X just because of that. I definitely see Linux Desktops become mainstream real soon now.
      • Re:Bingo. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209) on Friday July 28, 2006 @02:19PM (#15800641)
        I'm a devoted linux user, but let me disagree with one point... "just a driver layer." IMHO, device support is THE unsolvable problem for Linux. Too many devices are a crapshoot. Unless vendors ever open-source their drivers, which hasn't happened yet, users will never be able to assume they can buy a device and it will work, with all features supported, when they take it home and plug it in to their Linux box. Scouring message boards for clues about how well something might work before buying anything is a nagging pain I've learned to live with, but I doubt everybody else will.
      • I definitely see Linux Desktops become mainstream real soon now.

        We can hope. However, the article's focus was on the server end of things, not the desktop - and really, it doesn't make that much sense. Two points:

        1) Mass Virtualization. Say you run lots of virtual machines on your server (for compartmentation security, reliability, and so forth). If all those virtual machines are Windows, you are carrying around an extra 100MB (+-) PER VIRTUAL MACHINE, for the pretty GUI. Whereas if they are Linux ser
    • by Rob Y. (110975) on Friday July 28, 2006 @01:34PM (#15800222)
      I notice that you listed a slew of desktop apps that you run on Windows.

      Interestingly, the article has PHP and Apache icons to define its category. Sure, Microsoft wants you to run your Apache and PHP applications on Windows. What choice do they have? If you're already building Apache/PHP apps, you're probably building them on Linux. Any move to Windows is a net gain for Microsoft, and a net loss for Linux.

      But OOo. It'll be a cold day in Hell before Microsoft recommends that on Windows. Or Firefox, or Thunderbird or any of the other desktop apps listed here. Of course, most of them run great on Windows (in fact, often better than on Linux, but don't get me started there...), so if MS were really serious about encouraging OSS for Windows, they'd be on board with these apps too.

      Anyway, if you've gotta run Windows, lots of OSS desktop apps are available, and you oughta use 'em. But, don't expect Microsoft to tell you that.
    • MS seeks to keep 90% of the market 90% happy. That's all that you need to dominate the market. They don't need to appease the open source community in order to do this.

      As for competition from Macs. Maybe, but people still have their reasons to buy PCs. Granted, Macs are cheaper now, over what they used to be, OSX is nifty.

      MS, I'm sure, has their reasons for opening some sort of diplomatic relations with OSS, but fear of collapse in anything resembling the near future isn't one of them.
  • by 0racle (667029) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:27PM (#15799606)
    People would use commercial closed source software on Linux and Free OSS on Windows. I mean, wow. There really are people that will choose to use the best tool for the job.

    I'm shocked. SHOCKED!
  • Heresy! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Hikaru79 (832891) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:27PM (#15799612) Homepage
    Linux geeks admit that the open source OS isn't necessarily a better platform for important applications

    Okay, that's it. Turn your card in at the door. We never want to see you again.
    • He should also be forced to sit in the COMFY CHAIR!
    • Re:Heresy! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by andrewman327 (635952)
      Wouldn't that necessarily disqualify you from calling yourself a Linux geek?
    • Bogus Statement (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lanboy (261506)
      Notice the empahsis on "Important Applications" If by imprtant applications they mean server based applications, I have to look at this as an outright lie. Anyone who would prefer to run a mission critical application on windows over linux has an MCXX in thier email signature, and has no problem with a Monthly server reboot schedule.

      OSS on windows is simply a way to survive being forced to use XP at work by corporate policy or critical applications (visio, WHY), or at home by games and educational software
    • Re:Heresy! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 28, 2006 @01:38PM (#15800264) Homepage Journal
      Linux geeks admit that the open source OS isn't necessarily a better platform for important applications
      Okay, that's it. Turn your card in at the door. We never want to see you again.

      That's pretty much what I was thinking. That was some highly unusual spin. That entire comment seems to be inspired solely by the following bit from near the top of the article:

      "Would I want to put it all on Linux? Yeah, that's the geek in me," Hecht said at this week's O'Reilly Open Source Convention in Portland, Ore. "But the Alfresco application doesn't necessarily run better under Linux."

      Clearly the submitter has a reading comprehension problem. What Bob Hecht says there absolutely is not the same thing as saying that Linux is not a superior platform. What he said is that the application "doesn't necessarily run better under Linux." He doesn't share why this is true; the application could have been targeted so much toward Windows that optimizing for Linux would be difficult.

      The article itself is pure garbage:

      Both Microsoft Corp. and open-source vendors have traditionally portrayed the choice of whether to use their software as a black-and-white decision. Choose Microsoft Windows' all-inclusive .Net infrastructure, or run the LAMP stack of applications, which includes Linux, the MySQL database, the Apache Web server and one of three programming languages starting with the letter P: Perl, Python or PHP.

      One choice promises easier management at a higher price. The other offers lower costs and better security -- at the cost of more complexity.

      More complexity? MORE COMPLEXITY? Windows is known for needless complexity. Maybe they mean more complexity of management... but then all that proves is that they need a talented editor over at computerworld. Not that this is news.

      Besides, managing LAMP is getting easier all the time, and while the tools are still harder to use than the IIS MMC snap-in, they also work on a reliable basis. I've had the IIS management tools screw themselves up - or perhaps screw IIS up? - to the point where I had to reinstall the system in order to use them. You simply don't run into a situation like that on Linux. At worst you wipe out some directories and reinstall the software, and that's only if you're excessively confused.

      Computerword == suck.

  • Good. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slimjim8094 (941042)
    Chairs!!111
    Now that that's out of the way... we might be able to be serious

    It's nice to see Microsoft easing up a bit. I think we will find that this will be the only way to possibly ensure their existence. Embrace and extend, without the extinguish, anyone?

    On the other hand, they've promised many things over the years. Is this just another promise?
    • I agree this is nice, I guess. I don't like that they use the term "religious" to (apparently) describe someone who chooses free software because they value freedom. That doesn't sound like they've toned down their rhetoric...
    • I'm not sure you could call it "easing up." It's more of a mild fear that this "OSS" stuff might actually be posing a threat. While I think MS is a decent company in its own right, they don't really seem to understand what people need anymore. They're so focused on busniness now that the consumers are, quite frankly, getting the shaft.

      MS's efforts are decent in some ways, but I think they're going about it for exactly the wrong reasons. They're scared. This stuff should be open....because it should be
    • Like I've said before, this is MS promising to eat all the other ISVs' lunch. MS just wants to play the "free" & "bundled" cards to look like competition while they cherry-pick all the profitable parts of the software industry for themselves. Also, I think MS has learned that OSS isn't all bad. Once real lawyers and professionals look at the OSS licenses without bias, it's really no threat to MS on the utilities and apps front... Unlike all the "freeware" and "shareware" stuff out there, with OSS you
  • by ettlz (639203) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:30PM (#15799638) Journal
    'It's a myth that open-source and Windows can't work together. Customers just aren't religious about these things,' said Ryan Gavin, a director of platform strategy for Microsoft."
    Infidels!
  • by telbij (465356) * on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:32PM (#15799648)
    On the one hand, it's good for clueless IT managers to know they can run OSS on Windows, on the other hand it's been that way forever and anyone who didn't know you could run Apache on Windows shouldn't be managing the web server.

    What the article completely ignores is why geeks prefer Linux. It's not hard to understand. When you're setting up infrastructure, you want to plan for the long term. If you go with Microsoft there's really no telling what's in the pipeline--their whole marketing strategy is based on overpromising which renders their roadmaps useless. Linux and open source app development is more predictable. Even though Microsoft can push stuff out faster, everyone knows the ultimate goal is profits. That means they'll inevitably change things and add dubious features just to force upgrades. On the other hand open-source applications exist primarily to solve specific problems.

    There are a ton of short-term reasons to go with Microsoft:


    •        
    • It does what you need now.

    •        
    • Your staff knows it.

    •        
    • You've already invested in it.

    •        
    • Support comes with it.

    •        
    • Your boss has the full-color brochure

    •        
    • It's 'people-ready'


    On the other hand, long-term all these reasons evaporate. Open source projects can fall into dis-repair too, but at least you know a project isn't going to be scrapped because it's not driving upgrades anymore.
    • Um, what the hell happened to my UL? Did they change the parser on us?
      • Um, what the hell happened to my UL? Did they change the parser on us?
        I don't know what they've done, if it's wrapped up in the CSS change or something else. I always liked using blockquote and italics for quoted bits, but now it will only show what you see above (and that was written with the italics tags included).
    • I publish technical stuff. As a result, I love using LaTeX for technical stuff. Word + MathType is an abomination.

      LaTeX is open. It uses text based files. It is stable (I can latex files from a decade ago).

      I have been using LyX for nearly a decade as a LaTeX front end. Again, text file data format. They have conveerters that read the old stuff, and if they don't I can find an old copy of the LyX source if I really needed to.

      I like tgif for vector graphics/ eps files. Again, open source software that
  • And so (Score:3, Funny)

    by anshil (302405) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:32PM (#15799649) Homepage
    Inhale deeply, put your arms in a circle and say "Embraaaace", then exhale slowly pushing your arms out and say "Exteeeend"
    • Just who's extending who, though? I'd say OSS is giving MS a taste of its own medicine.
    • Re:And so (Score:3, Funny)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      Then tighten your trigger-finger and say "Exterminate"
    • Re:And so (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Jason Earl (1894) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:47PM (#15799801) Homepage Journal

      I agree. However, in this case it is Microsoft that is feeling the squeeze. In a lot of cases the Free Software that people want to run on Windows competes directly with software that Microsoft sells. Having this software available for Windows means that it is not necessary to have UNIX knowledge to deploy Free Software applications. However, once you are using Free Software applications on Windows it becomes trivial to migrate to some other platform. Not only does Free Software on Windows loosen Microsoft's grasp on customers, but it makes it much harder for Microsoft to use its market power to embrace and extend protocols.

  • Duh! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Klaidas (981300) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:32PM (#15799651)
    Linux geeks admit that the open source OS isn't necessarily a better platform for important applications, and Microsoft recognizes that many of its customers are using open-source applications, and doesn't want to alienate them.

    Well, DUH! How many time did it take to understand that? It's not the code being open or closed, it's (mostly) not the fact if the software cost, or is it free as in beer. It's the software itself that matters.
    Example, do you see designers complaining about photoshop? Or do you see system admins complaining about linux servers? Not really. And it's because of software that matters.
    • Actually, my girlfriend (a graphic designer) complains about Photoshop all the time - less than she does about using the GIMP at my house, but she complains nonetheless.

      And I'm sure - no, certain - that there are admins out there who complain about their Linux servers, even though they're rediculously proud of them.

      It's all about degree of irritation when it comes to computers. The right tool for the job is the one that lets you get the job done without pissing you off too much.
  • by pieterh (196118) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:32PM (#15799653) Homepage
    Microsoft make a lousy OS, but nice applications. Why are they not selling proprietary software on Linux? They could have killed OpenOffice and ODF years ago if there had been a nice, decently-priced MSOffice for Linux.

    Of course people will run open source on Windows, but that will bring Microsoft no revenue and no lockin, since all open source products, almost by definition, cannot be locked down to a single platform. Even if the code can't be ported it'll be rewritten.

    But I suspect the real reason for this statement is that corporate buyers are increasingly specifying an open source 'stack' as part of their purchasing reqirements. The operating system must be able to run (e.g.) the 'Apache stack' (whatever that means), so there is pressure coming from the market for such a statement.

    Still, it's a half-assed approach that seems to be lacking in any kind of long-term strategy.
    • "Why are they not selling proprietary software on Linux? They could have killed OpenOffice and ODF years ago if there had been a nice, decently-priced MSOffice for Linux."

      If they had sold MSOffice at the Windows-version price, few would have bought. If they had sold it substantially lower, that would have motivated Windows users to look at Linux.
    • They went the opposite direction -- lets make operating systems for handhelds (which they suck at) or for TV media centers, or gaming systems, etc.

      Of course, they're losing money hand over fist still with the xbox project, but don't let that confuse the issue :-)
  • Linux geeks admit that the open source OS isn't necessarily a better platform for important applications

    Next we'll be seeing the alternate-universe Ballmer wearing a little goatee...
  • by RingDev (879105) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:38PM (#15799722) Homepage Journal
    Windows, IIS, MySQL, PHP - WIMP

    -Rick
  • by WombatControl (74685) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:40PM (#15799740)

    Windows + OSS is a good combination. The more people use OSS applications, the less tied they are to Microsoft and proprietary data formats. Advocates of OSS need to realize that many people will never switch their operating system to Linux or even OS X, and so trying to push Linux will meet much more resistance than saying "here, just install this application that's free and doesn't require you to change everything about how you use your computer."

    The big challenge is making OSS apps better than their commercial counterparts. Some get this right - Audacity is a great app for sound editing that combines a relatively friendly UI with solid features. 7Zip is just as easy as WinZIP and less intrusive. But not all of them do - OpenOffice is great, but it's much slower than MS Office. Many OSS projects are much slower than normal Windows programs, and use toolkits like GTK which are nice for cross-platform development but look like canned ass on Windows. (And that's coming from someone who uses GTK all the time.)

    Firefox got the balance of features and UI right - and that's why millions of people have Firefox as their first foray into the world of open source. The more people who see open source as a viable alternative, the more tractions it will get, and the more viable it will be for people to switch to Linux as their OS.

    However, that's going to require OSS to start thinking about polish - making applications that Grandma can use. It's not impossible, but a lot of OSS projects need to concentrate on making applications that work well and look decent on Windows - even if we don't particularly care for the platform or the company that makes it.

    • OpenOffice is great, but it's much slower than MS Office.

      I personally don't think the OO.o speed is a problem. For me, buying MS Office is a problem because I don't think the lost seconds here and there waiting for OO.o don't add up to $300 in lost productivity. Maybe it does in a large business environment but for a small business, $300 per computer is far too great of an expense for me to justify.
    • GTK is a shitty toolkit. There, I said it.

      Use Qt for full apps, or FLTK for light apps with short time-to-market, or native code for things that MUST be hella-fast.

      GTK, as far as I'm concerned is an addictive mistake.
    • However, that's going to require OSS to start thinking about polish - making applications that Grandma can use. It's not impossible, but a lot of OSS projects need to concentrate on making applications that work well and look decent on Windows - even if we don't particularly care for the platform or the company that makes it.

      Cheers to that. The Grandma test is pretty much what keeps people out of linux. I love firefox, but its not because its better than any other open source software package; its because o
  • by mpapet (761907) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:42PM (#15799752) Homepage
    is Microsoft's only objective.

    A bad scenario for MS is some OSS company become big enough to compete for the PHB's attention with a bunch of lesser but valuable OSS applications. Which could lead to the nightmare scenario of the PHB walking away from the Active Directory/Exchange crack pipe.

    OT:
    I have to give them big-time credit for creating another crack house with Office and sharepoint. (or some other server CAL nightmare)
    • It's about cherry-picking the best stuff for MS to sell and letting the "masses" handle the rest. Also, OSS doesn't mean cross platform. There's quite a bit of OSS .NET stuff out there, but of course it's tied only to Windows. PHBs still won't see the difference between the two so they'll continue to be locked in...probably more tightly because the "free" stuff will be built on more of the MS core.
  • I think Microsoft is very worried about Windows open source applications like OpenOffice that threaten their dominance in the application software market. While their customers are forcing them to take a less hostile position to open source, in general, they still need to fan the flames of criticism of the security, reliability, etc. Even on Windows, open source is a major threat to Microsoft that they cannot fully accept.
  • "Linux geeks admit that the open source OS isn't necessarily a better platform for important applications,"

    So I guess I'm not a Linux geek.

  • The idea that MS is somehow "understanding" about the adoption of OSS on their customer's machines is a joke. It's amazing how short-sighted people can be.
  • WTF? (Score:2, Funny)

    by eno2001 (527078)
    Putting insecure code that hackers can easily break into on an insecure OS? That'll NEVER work! You need a secure OS under all the insecure open source stuff to have real security. Because, you see, Linux is more secure than Windows since the code isn't ope... oh wait.
    • What on EARTH are you talking about?

      Oh. You're one of those 'Security through Obscurity' fellows.

      Run along then. Go play with the razors with all the other proprietary lackeys.
  • what's happening (Score:3, Informative)

    by argoff (142580) * on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:49PM (#15799825)
    Whats happening is that as scoiety enters the information age, the service value of information is becoming more valuable than the content value. That's causing the rules to change up and down the board, and is making it so that the industry is starting to rotate around information services instead of content controlls like copyrights. While Linux is very nicely positioned for this future, Microsoft isn't, and they know it. Microsoft needs to be friendly with Linux because they need that to make it in this future. They're not like the RIAA, whose crap mostly has no commercial service value at all. Miscosoft is eventually going to need to compete in the service area head on with the likes of IBM, Oracle, and Sun. Each of these companies are positioning themselves with strategies to deal with and benefit from open source, while maximizing the revenue coming from their current core.

    Microsoft will probably try to milk the OS, Office, and the dominance of IE for all they can get with the right hand, while pushing a full end open source service assult with the left. While this is nice, to me it's a day late, a dollar short. There are already companies deeply entrenched in this space who can provide for my needs far better. Also, it is a dangerous strategy. Not only is the company likely to go skitso as profit center butts heads against its service center. But they are also likely to reach a point where they can't increase their service core as fast as their licensing core is decreasing. When that happens they will likely go into panic mode and all freakin hell will break loose - making SCO look like the tooth fairy.

    My messg to Microsoft. If you really want to play in our playground - open up your damn patents!
  • So years from now, if most IT infrastructure is open source, but just not necessarily at the OS level, what's to keep companies from switching out the underlying OS once there is an adequate amount of Linux know-how out there for them to hire? I don't think Microsoft likes this very much at all, since there is no lock-in with open source. Companies with existing investment in Windows will use WAMP, but new companies will likely go with LAMP or J2EE from the start.

    If anything, I would say that with WAMP, o
  • My boss at work is a big fan of Linux and other open-source applications. However, we still use plenty of Microsoft and other proprietary products- because often there is either
    A. No open source solution
    B. The closed source solution works enough better to justify the cost.
    Obviously open source software is cheaper and easier to modify than closed-source software. However, time is money- even halfway decent programmers make $20 an hour, so a week spent trying to get something to work properly (eith
  • Why is that? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by paulius_g (808556) on Friday July 28, 2006 @12:56PM (#15799878) Homepage
    That's because with OSS, Windows users are reassured that there is no spyware, phone-home features or anything else unwanted in a "freeware" program. And, they don't want to pay for commercial software.

    I've recently used Windows in a VM environment (thank you very much, I'm a Mac and Linux geek) and I was browsing for freeware software. Almost all of that software had malware bundled with it. Gosh, I'm so thankful that I'm not using Windows every day. It is hilarious! You can't trust any single piece of software.

    So yes, people like OSS because you can trust OSS. You know what's in there and you know that it won't harm the system.
    And plus, OSS software is mostly of greater quality than the usual freeware.
  • From the Computerworld article: Microsoft has toned down its rhetoric. "It's a myth that open-source and Windows can't work together. Customers just aren't religious about these things," said Ryan Gavin, a director of platform strategy for Microsoft.

    Abusers such as crack addicts and alcoholics and others will say anything whatsoever to get what they want. There may not be a shred of truth in what they say. What they say certainly is no guide to what they will do.

    The Computerworld article is just ponti
  • In pre-Linux days their was plenty of sharing going on. Once upon a time mainframe types used to bring reel-reel tapes to conferences to exchange code. Later it was the UNIX/BSD developers/admins. Amazing what was being shared before OSS, GNU & Linux on licensed platforms. Now M$ is in on it. The only difference is that today we have all the GPL, BSD, etc. licensing schemes.
  • Customers just aren't religious about these things
    Naturally they aren't. If they would be religious about open source, they wouldn't be your customers, would they?

    Having pointed that out, please let me have my troll: Putty indeed nearly makes XP usable. Nearly.

  • ...what's the current big thing again? I think I'm behind. Did something come after AJAX, or is that still it?
  • First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, [then they try to compromise with you], then you win.
  • by ChronoFish (948067)
    The next big thing? I thought this was the standard for years. Why else would so much OSS be developed for XP? Why else would so much OSS have pre-compiled binaries and installers for Windows based OS?

    I do all my PHP development on WinXP - I have Apache2 with PHP and MySQL running perfectly together on my box. I use firefox and thunderbird. I use Tortise CVS to check code into our Linux Server - and yeah - putty gives me a nice command line terminal if necessary - and I can copy files through samba con
  • To misquote Laurie Andserson:

    When Office is gone,
    There's always X-Box.
    And when X-Box is gone,
    There's always Windows (now with Open Source!)
    And when Win-dows is gone,
    There's always Zune!
    And when Zune is gone,
    There's always mom.
    Hi mom!

    Hmm, maybe this comment would be better in a thread on the situation in the mid-east.
  • With F/Fox, AbiWord, OOo, HandBrake (DVD ripper), VLC (media player) and aMule, the Mac's a very happy place to be these days...
  • Yes, open source software runs well on Windows. It's a great way to avoid retraining, to fit into existing infrastructures, and all that. That's why people have gone through a lot of trouble porting Apache, PHP, Perl, Python, bash, Gtk+, etc. to Windows, and why eventually all of Gnome, KDE, and all those apps will run on Windows.

    But that's not the "best of both worlds". Once you have gone to WAMP, there is little technical reason not to kick out the Windows kernel and admin tools as well. At this point
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Friday July 28, 2006 @02:02PM (#15800491) Homepage
    I'm sure this is exactly what MS is afraid of, but I'll just report it as it happened:
    I used to use Windows (2000) just like most people. I programmed in Visual C++ and did a lot of audio work in Windows 3rd-party applications like SoundForge. I had installed RedHat 7 to check it out (partly because of some school-related reasons, wanting to understand some of this "Unix" stuff I'd read about in my operating systems classes). I found it cool, though it did take quite a lot of work to get it set up, especially since I was just learning it. I hated the RPM thing, and how I had to find dependancies manually. All in all it was a nice curiosity, but I kept using Windows. I did keep Linux around though, eventually upgrading to RedHat 9.

    However, under Windows I was mostly using OSS programs like FireFox and Thunderbird, etc. I realized one day that in fact EVERYTHING I did on my computer, short of some audio applications, was in OSS programs, which were available just as easily under Linux. So I swtiched my email and web browsing over to Linux, and started programming in it.

    This led to me spending a lot more time in Linux, and the more comfortable I got with it, the more I started to prefer it. I switched to Debian and enjoyed apt-get which solved the packaging problems (yes I know there are now solutions for RedHat too).. In short, I became a pretty hardcore Linux user, because I really started to like it more. These days, when I do have to use Windows, I still have FireFox and Cygwin installed and the only proprietary stuff I use is for my job, like Visual C++.

    That's the thing -- i just don't NEED Windows. I don't need ANY proprietary stuff for my day to day computer usage. And OSS on Windows is what helped me realize that..

    In short, I think probably the biggest advantage of opening the source code of an application is that, given sufficient community interest, it will likely be ported to other platforms. The more platforms that an application supports, the easier it is for the users to ween their dependancy on a specific OS. In this day and age, when there are multiple operating systems that provide essentially the same functionality (arguable some better or worse than others), users shouldn't _depend_ on any particular one of them to be able to work with their data. With so many API libraries available for developing cross-platform software, any barriers thrown up to stop applications from being ported are, essentially, artificial.
    • Yes!!

      I think this is one of the most important (and most forgotten) problems regarding the Linux OSS community. I hate to generalize, but I know there are a (not-insignificant) group of people who feel that OSS projects shouldn't be ported to Windows, and instead should be reserved as a "killer app" to convince others to migrate. While the logic is understandable, the issue is that most people aren't going to plunge into something as intensive as installing a completely foreign operating system for the

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